Mboweni at odds with ANC over SAA – DA
The DA says SAA should no longer get government bailouts and that for it to survive, it should be privatised.
An SAA aircraft. Picture: ANA
Democratic Alliance (DA) Member of Parliament (MP) Alf Lees noted in a statement on Friday “with great interest” the view expressed by the minister of finance, Tito Mboweni, while addressing an investor conference in New York yesterday, that South African Airways (SAA) should be “closed down”.
“Mboweni’s refreshing views on SAA are in sharp contrast to the repeated mantra by the ANC in parliament that maintains that the state carrier is a developmental tool that cannot be done away with and which will never be privatised,” Lees’ statement reads.
According to the DA MP, the state-owned entity (SOE) continues to be a huge drain on the fiscus.
Lees said this is notably evidenced by how SAA recorded losses of R5.6 billion in 2014/15, R1.4 billion in 2015/16, R5.5 billion in 2016/17, and R 5.7 billion in 2017/18, and is running at a loss in 2018/19 with the SAA turn-around plan making provisions for further losses until the 2020/21 financial year.
Furthermore, SAA has been bailed out by the taxpayer to the tune of R10 billion over the past two financial years and is set for a further R21.7 billion in taxpayer bailouts over the next three years, Lees said.
The DA MP added that the airline has, through incompetence and unreliable service, lost part of the maintenance contracts for British Airways and Lufthansa “who are now apparently in the process of establishing their own maintenance operations”.
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“The DA has long expressed the view that SAA should not be kept alive through taxpayer bailouts and that if it is to survive, it must do so on its own and be privatised. The first step towards saving SAA and the approximately 10,300 jobs must be to put SAA into business rescue. If business rescue fails there will be no other option but to liquidate SAA.
“There should be no further bailouts for SAA and the R5 billion that Tito Mboweni wants to appropriate for the airline in a special appropriations bill must be rejected by parliament. Indeed, it’s curious that parliament should be considering the bill at all considering Mboweni’s reported views on SAA.”
The MP said the DA will oppose the Special Appropriation Bill and will do everything in its power to prevent another massive bailout to another dysfunctional SOE.
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)